Nothing is happening in British literature

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Fred said this:

I wrote a thing on 'Beast' and tried to do something about what happens in British films in general, and... yeah, why does it always seem as if nothing is happening in British film? I mean, a lot of films are coming out each year, and they definitely have things in common, but it just never seems as if there's any excitement surrounding British film. Compare it to music, and it's remarkable.

― Frederik B, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 09:29 (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I realized I could say the same thing about British literature, btw.

― Frederik B, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 09:29 (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Is the literature bit true?

If it is true, why and how? What's it like elsewhere?

If it's not true, where's the excitement? What are you finding exciting?

Tim, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 11:04 (three months ago) Permalink

noted british lit expert, fred b

Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 11:15 (three months ago) Permalink

I have no idea about Fred's taste in (or knowledge of) literature; I didn't set this thread up to rag on him (I mean if you want to, go ahead but you'll probably have more fun doing it on the original thread). I do think the idea of necessarily-slow forms like books having a kind of generic excitement or momentum about them is an interesting one.

I feel like in lit-fic, which is where I spend most of my British fiction time, there have been a couple of trends in the last few years:

- the psychogeography thing of a few years back seems to have given way to a fashion for rural/landscapey business, sometimes city-person-moves-to-country memoir / autofiction, sometimes old wyrd Britain Wicker Man business. This stuff is not my thing

- a growth in profile of small press things, particularly in their openness to the work of marginalised writers

- a growth of interest in short stories, which seems to happen periodically but several of the books I've enjoyed most in the last year or so have been short stories.

I am tragically under-informed about what's going on in other parts of British fiction: is there excitement in (say) speculative fiction, YA, crime...?

Tim, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 11:27 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah the back to nature thing is everywhere. Every bookshop I go into has a prominent nature table. Most of it looks like twee bollocks tbh and feels in many ways quite hypocritical but idk I guess we're all yearning for the Weald from our marketing offices

imago, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 12:06 (three months ago) Permalink

Thanks Tim and imago! Do you have any recommendations? Psychogeography/old wyrd sounds a bit like what I see in cinema.

Frederik B, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 12:09 (three months ago) Permalink

Yes please share recommendations

calstars, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 12:11 (three months ago) Permalink

In general, I think a claim like 'there is no excitement in British literature' is not very valuable or convincing. I find it somewhat like saying 'Music isn't good anymore'.

One could explore the term 'excitement'. Tim hints at an interesting idea about 'slow forms' like novels having a particular relation to excitement. One could say: OK, there isn't *excitement* about UK writing, but there is good quality, interest, pleasure, etc.

I think that Tim is asking: what are trends?

I certainly agree that nature writing is a big trend but I would put it on the borders of 'literature' - most that I have seen is non-fictional. Some of it is overrated but I think that broadly it is a trend of good quality and significance.

I think that there is a lot of interest, still, in SF. There is a regular monthly panel of SF writers in London which shows how much interest exists in new material in that field.

I agree that it is good to look for trends. But I also think that for me, the excitement of literature often comes down to individual works and writers, about which one can become passionate. Lately I have probably read more US writing so I shouldn't pronounce too much further on UK, just now.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 12:22 (three months ago) Permalink

To put my point differently -- if, in a given year, say, one novel was published and I admired and loved it, then that would be more than enough excitement for me in itself. I wouldn't think that it needed more hype. It would be personal.

Maybe that's the same point that Tim is making about slow artistic forms.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 12:25 (three months ago) Permalink

know fuck all about contemporary brit writers but the ann quin stories and rarities collection was v good

devvvine, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 12:31 (three months ago) Permalink

This is a very interesting topic. I know next to nothing about 'what is happening' in English lit, but tbh the same goes for Dutch lit - which I do follow. It's scattered. Maybe trends don't come to light until after a few years, looking back? More so than before? Idk.

It just so happens my most recent discovery, Cynan Jones from Wales, perfectly fits the rural theme though.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 12:37 (three months ago) Permalink

I've spent most of my reading time in the last few years reading 20th century things in translation; it's not like I feel I know what's going on, really, but I have picked up on a few things that I've found very exciting: "Attrib." by Eley Williams was the thing I read last year that I liked most of all; I thought David Hayden's "Darker With The Lights On" was more-or-less as good, but didn't mention Bridget Riley or Walt Jabsco, which Eley's book did. Both of these are collections of short stories on very small presses, fwiw.

There's a publishing house called Dostoyevsky Wannabe who I think are very exciting, doing things fast and cheap (they make use of Amazon's on-demand services to mean they don't need any upfront investment to publish, except the investment of their time). I've recently read "Cherry Bomb" by Victoria Brown, "Girl At End" by Richard Brammer and "A Hypocritical Reader" by Rosie Snajdr and I loved each one. DW are old fashioned indie fans (another of Brammer's books is called "Listening to Emily's Sassy Lime Again"; they do samplers whose names reference C86!) and they seem to be inspired by some of that spirit: do it quickly, do it cheap, make it good, not everyone will like it, keep moving.

Last year DW published "Liberating the Canon: an anthology of innovative literature" which featured a few people doing things more or less inspired by modernism; it's lumpy in the way these things usually are but it felt like a record of a thing happening.

Whether that counts as exciting or not is not clear to me - this stuff is not making much impression on a wider world.

Tim, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 13:28 (three months ago) Permalink

I haven't really thought through what I was saying about slow artistic forms, past an idea that compared to pop music the speed of production and consumption is relatively slow. If a literary equivalent of the Sex Pistols happened and changed the way lots of people thought about fiction or poetry, for practical purposed the evidence of that change would take a long time to appear: writing takes a long time, and publishing lead-times are long. And it takes a long time for people to read things, and to get round to reading them. Literary movements, for those reasons, can't move as fast as pop movements.

Tim, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 13:36 (three months ago) Permalink

Is literature exciting in other countries in a way it's not in Britain? I can believe it is but I'd love to know how.

Tim, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 13:44 (three months ago) Permalink

I am too old to be excited by anything.

Don't really follow music that much now but I always felt contemporary literature was boring compared to music, right? Little room for outsiders and the noise made is mostly reactionary guff. Phones are killing the thing, or women can't write variety, or middlebrow controversy. Like I was really happy when I heard Naipul died. And its a laughable idea, to go to a reading or an event or a literary festival.

Joanna Walsh is a name that comes to mind in terms of autofic/essayistic fiction. Only read Hotel, which I think it's pretty good. She has published a couple more since.

On the poetry side I dig Sophie Collins and want to check her debut. She also translates poetry from Dutch.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 15:10 (three months ago) Permalink

Honestly I don't know how anyone can talk with authority about wider trends in literature (of any country) unless they're reading a lot of newly-published books every year. Which isn't to say that people aren't, but any perspective is going to be incomplete and misleading - even if you're reading 50 new novels a year, what you are reading is always going to be dwarfed by what you aren't.

You can have a reasonable idea of the stuff that's getting publicity, or selling, or what the 'name' authors are doing, but I don't think that's the same thing as what we're talking about here. You can talk about works that have personally excited you, but 'nothing is happening in x literature' strikes me as a nonsensical claim to make.

I don't want to pile onto Fred here and I realise this isn't his thread but it might also help for him to define 'excitement' in this context.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 15:21 (three months ago) Permalink

love to write a long post exposing the inherent contradiction of the statement ‘Nothing is happening in British literature’ from first principles without ever mentioning a single thing happening in British literature

flopson, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 18:38 (three months ago) Permalink

I mean, yeah, it wasn't me who started this thread, but it came from writing a piece on British cinema, and trying to find some literature that could be used as parallel examples, and not being able to. And I talked to my friends who are really into literature - writers and editors of small magazines and stuff like that - and they didn't really know either. Since I'm a cultural critic I kinda define 'exciting' as something that feels like I should know about it, and there just isn't that? Whereas I can tell that Norwegian cinema wouldn't be the same without Erlend Loe, and I know a handful of writers that correspond to what's happening in Danish cinema as well - Peter Woetman, Lone Aburas. And obviously, I'm more plugged into Scandinavian culture, but since everyone I know speaks English it just struck me as weird that nobody was really bothering with keeping up with British literature.

Frederik B, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 20:31 (three months ago) Permalink

There's a literature festival happening in Denmark this month, and the only author from the British Isles participating is Sally Rooney who is Irish. There's two from Japan, two from Mexico, etc.

Frederik B, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 20:34 (three months ago) Permalink

is there excitement in (say) speculative fiction

not that I'm aware of. would love to be proven wrong as many of my favorite spec fic writers are British (Ballard, Moorcock, Noon, M. John Harrison)

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 20:41 (three months ago) Permalink

i am unfortunately (or fortunately given my tastes?) not so up on contemporary fiction but speaking from a purely scottish perspective it seems like the last time we had a group of notable writers you'd have to go back to the early 1990s and Irvine Welsh, Alan Warner, and James Meek (and i suppose before that the group around Philip Hobsbaum in the late 60s-mid-70s - Kelman, Lochhead, Gray, Leonard et al)

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 21:05 (three months ago) Permalink

Fred B, It would be helpful if you could start your survey of British literature by abstaining from referring to Ireland as part of "the British Isles"

Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 21:09 (three months ago) Permalink

... but it is?

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 21:18 (three months ago) Permalink

is it? The island of Ireland wasn't referred to as part of The British isles until the C16th, incidentally also the time of the Tudor conquest of Ireland. I don't think it's been acceptable to refer to an Irish person as being from The British Isles for many years now.

Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 21:38 (three months ago) Permalink

although, by all means, try it on darraghmac and see how it goes down.

Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 21:41 (three months ago) Permalink

Yes, it's not quite the done thing.

Scottish Country Twerking (Tom D.), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 21:51 (three months ago) Permalink

british islands is a political term rather than a geographical one. we haven't quite settled on a new name but
islands of the north atlantic", "britain and ireland", or "these islands" if you're british or irish and living in britain or ireland, are all pretty good imo

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 21:54 (three months ago) Permalink

As long as the Faroe Islands remain Danish, they will always be what I mean by 'islands of the north atlantic'

Frederik B, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 21:58 (three months ago) Permalink

Being an Antipodean my understanding is super limited but I presume the offence arises because of conflation of the terms "British" and "English" - e.g. I imagine most Americans would call someone from London "British" but someone from Glasgow "Scottish". So referring to Ireland as part of the British Isles is kind of functionally calling Irish people part of the English Isles?
Anyway, no offence intended, I just thought it was the collective term for the islands to the north of France. Call me a New Zealander if it helps.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 22:33 (three months ago) Permalink

Being an Antipodean my understanding is super limited but I presume the offence arises because of conflation of the terms "British" and "English"

this is not the case

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 22:46 (three months ago) Permalink

the island of ireland is neither in britain nor, for the most part, part of the nation state "the united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland", the term british isles originated after ireland was colonized by england. therefore to continue to use "the british isles" is a political and not geographical term, which is explicitly tied to british colonialism and british "ownership" of ireland

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 22:49 (three months ago) Permalink

the tin islands

ogmor, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 22:59 (three months ago) Permalink

So is this now a “is Ireland considered a part of Britain” thread or

calstars, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 23:09 (three months ago) Permalink

why stop there, let's just go full "how are the Irish like black people" what could go wrong

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 23:12 (three months ago) Permalink

we can move onto literature now that i have resolved this issue. we got this one sorted lads

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 23:18 (three months ago) Permalink

Anyway the only names I recognize so far are welsh and kelman. I thought the latter was writing more recently. Like him quite a bit, maybe should re read

calstars, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 23:23 (three months ago) Permalink

So is this now a “is Ireland considered a part of Britain” thread or

... a “is Ireland considered a part of the British Isles” thread, it's the the latter not the former.

Scottish Country Twerking (Tom D.), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 23:33 (three months ago) Permalink

Can recommend Will Eaves, who writes experimental yet extremely readable novels

Zelda Zonk, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 23:37 (three months ago) Permalink

Will Eaves is wonderful. His most recent novel, Murmur, or the story/vignette collection The Absent Therapist are both excellent starting points.

There is much good stuff definitely happening with small indie UK and Irish presses: CB Editions (who published both the above), Dostoevsky Wannabe, Galley Beggar, Tramp Press, etc.

As to the original post, the perceived lack of excitement is probably just down to the fact that the hot writers of the 1980s/90s, the ones that most UK cultural journalist grew up reading and still follow the work of (AmisRushdieMcEwenBarnesIshiguroetc), are almost all at the tedious, running-out-of-ideas/repeating themselves/turning into angry old conservatives stage, and so said journalists are either stuck boosting stale goods or floundering because they don't know much about the new stuff.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 16 August 2018 01:19 (three months ago) Permalink

xxp thanks for the clarification Jim, I'll no longer use that term

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Thursday, 16 August 2018 01:30 (three months ago) Permalink

I’ll have to recuse myself from whatever is going on here, I’m from LA

calstars, Thursday, 16 August 2018 01:34 (three months ago) Permalink

looking forwad to some will eaves. lot of otm from Tim, pinefox et al on slow momentum and 'not as exciting' being a v difficult judgment. the asking of this question in a pub directly led me to ilx in the first place. the difficulty if you're not immersed in the fiction world is that the main media and reviewing outlets are so poor for discovering this sort of thing. I think we're *slightly* past the James' ARMcEBI point, but really not by much (and as I write that i feel we probably are still in its circle of effect), and there's a bias towards the factual in a number of book reviewing outlets. as always, finding the gatekeepers (which I guess are most likely to be publishers these days - Tim's small press point) is probably half the battle to locating where the seam of whatever's 'happening' is located.

i don't go onto 3am so much any more, partly because there's a lot on there which doesn't look particularly interesting to me. but part of immersing yourself is a willingness to accept that not everything is going to be a classic, and you're looking for stuff of interest, not just as embodied in an entire story or novel, but within them as well – what's new, slightly different, what are they *trying* to do? writing this is making me feel like going on a bit of a binge of what's out there. like Tim i struggle with psychogeography influenced stuff, and even its weak expression in much nature writing – *show me the historical and continuous links, do the work to mutate the substance into the new thing you're making it out to be, don't just draw parallels because it has historically occupying the same space*. I am no doubt traducing some very good stuff in this genre horribly.

Fizzles, Thursday, 16 August 2018 08:02 (three months ago) Permalink

noted that Tim and James both make the small press point, and it's good to see some listed there, James.

Fizzles, Thursday, 16 August 2018 08:03 (three months ago) Permalink

I would have thought that Tim would steer clear of any press making reference to C86.

the pinefox, Thursday, 16 August 2018 08:24 (three months ago) Permalink

If I think of books from say the last 20 years that have excited me (which might not excite others at all) -- some of them could be put in trends, but the books were exciting in their own right; without their own quality the trend would lack weight.

This is to suggest once more that what's exciting, if anything is, is the encounter with an individual work (or maybe writer).

An all too obvious example: THE LINE OF BEAUTY - which some people on ILB love and some wouldn't be bothered with. I am more the former. I do think that this book was part of a trend of neo-1980s fiction, and that this was interesting in itself. But I doubt that this is the kind of trend that would provide the 'excitement' looked for on this thread, and doubt that Alan Hollinghurst cared about it. So the excitement, if I can use the word, was about my own experience with the book and its relation to my own life, memory, sense of literary history, etc.

I think I do sympathise with trend-spotting and trend-narration -- literary history is worthwhile and often involves this.

But I am still not sure that it's the best way to approach what is exciting about reading in the present.

So for Fred B, if he wants to look for excitement, it might be best just to read some books (including eg: ones recommended above, if necessary) and see what they make him feel. Maybe they will be exciting, maybe something else.

the pinefox, Thursday, 16 August 2018 08:48 (three months ago) Permalink

i agree with both views i think, and here’s how:

i can’t think of examples where i haven’t been excited by a *writer*, and the things that make me excited about them, want to read them urgently, do not reside in a publishing house, say.

however, the knowledge that a publishing house or collective is doing *interesting things* and publishing, effectively funding or working together to allow more writers to do more, might be exciting, without me necessarily liking everything they do, and possibly even disliking some of it.

having just passed a bookshop with the new joanna walsh in the window, i guess she exists at an emergent point on a vector out of “new, interesting and difficult to discover in the common run of things” and into the periphery “general awareness”.

Fizzles, Thursday, 16 August 2018 09:04 (three months ago) Permalink

xyzzz likes Joanna Walsh and thinks that author readings are ridiculous, so I am not sure how to tell him that when I attended a Joanna Walsh reading it was dire.

the pinefox, Thursday, 16 August 2018 09:14 (three months ago) Permalink

In general I think this is a conversation about wider narratives rather than texts, the lack of a prevailing narrative about British Literatry Fiction that I think existed in the 80s and 90s with the writers mentioned above. It's possible that those narratives are imposed in hindsight but in the case of Amis, McEwan, Rushdie etc I think not.

It occurs to me that the one book that is likely to be a huge literary and publishing event and generate considerable excitement, including on ILX, is the third volume of Hilary Mantel's Cromwell trilogy. I can't think of many other current British writers who have that level of profile and are still producing their best fiction.

Matt DC, Thursday, 16 August 2018 09:43 (three months ago) Permalink

Joanna Walsh rules - I think co-running the #ReadWomen twitter account might have helped her get to that emergent point quicker xxp

jeremy cmbyn (wins), Thursday, 16 August 2018 09:49 (three months ago) Permalink

I can't for the life of me find this article I started reading - linked to by a New Socialist writer on their patreon, I think - which explored what the author saw as the reactionary and anti-modernist impulse in Folk Horror writing, suggesting that adherents fail to see this because the nationalism of Folk Horror is surly and defeated from the get-go. Anyway I have no strong opinion either way, and didn't actually finish the article, but it would be useful here as a discussion of a clear trend of the kind Fred B is looking for - the writer even tied it into starting to see more Folk bands being formed around that time and etc.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 16 August 2018 10:11 (three months ago) Permalink

Pinefox that is why I don't attend readings nothing good ever comes out of them. It makes good ppl sound bad.

She closed down that #readwomen account didn't she? It was a really annoying account, didn't rate the other person who ran it and the whole thing starts falling to pieces once you mention Gertrude Stein.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 16 August 2018 10:24 (three months ago) Permalink

Actually I'm not sure Fred's looking for a clear trend, I think he is just saying there aren't any books coming out in Britain that are interesting enough for him to bother about! Which is a fully legit position, you have to have techniques to discern what you'll find time for and goodness knows there's enough writing from all around the world, no reason why anyone should pay particular attention to what's going on in Britain.

No reason why they shouldn't, of course.

Tim, Thursday, 16 August 2018 10:33 (three months ago) Permalink

'When I said "should", I meant - "shouldn't". ... So you can put that in'.

-- Tim Hopkins

the pinefox, Thursday, 16 August 2018 10:49 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah that sounds like me.

Tim, Thursday, 16 August 2018 10:54 (three months ago) Permalink

:(

Tim, Thursday, 16 August 2018 10:58 (three months ago) Permalink

I will stop going on about Eley Williams one day but I have seen her read several times and she's never short of excellent.

Tim, Thursday, 16 August 2018 10:59 (three months ago) Permalink

ANYWAY.

IF Britain doesn't currently have much going on in literature (which you can make your own mind up about given what's upthread), where does? And what is it?

Tim, Thursday, 16 August 2018 11:02 (three months ago) Permalink

"There's nothing worth reading" doesn't lead to a very interesting conversation I don't think - as with ppl on ILM who say "there's no good albums released this year", the only possible answer is "look harder", since it's pretty much impossible that amongst the hundreds and hundreds of books released every year in the UK there wouldn't be something to enjoy.

"Nothing's exciting me right now" feels like a more interesting premise to me because it takes into account not just the books you've happened to pick up but also the entire ecosystem of recommendations, reviews, publications, etc. Also because I guess trendspotting sorta challenges people to look into things and perhaps make connections which they previoussly hadn't thought of. Or bring up new avenues that the OP wasn't aware of! I'm thinking of something like deej's "what music is exciting you right now?" thread on ILM.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 16 August 2018 11:25 (three months ago) Permalink

I want to know who's making the coolest experimental fiction less so I can read the books and more so I can befriend them and form weird underground societies

imago, Thursday, 16 August 2018 11:39 (three months ago) Permalink

Do you have a history of successfully accomplishing this?

the pinefox, Thursday, 16 August 2018 11:44 (three months ago) Permalink

brief flickers at the tail-end of university, but the cambridge crowd were in retrospect either moribund or too far up prynne's arse

imago, Thursday, 16 August 2018 12:01 (three months ago) Permalink

The headline was what was picked up on:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/aug/17/will-self-i-read-as-many-as-50-books-at-once

But what I really liked was this admission:

The book I wish I’d written
I just wish I’d written better books – better in every respect: more impassioned, deeper, more resonant – books that would perhaps have changed others’ lives the way Kafka’s did mine.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 19 August 2018 14:19 (three months ago) Permalink

Not a novelist myself but can relate to the part about reading 50 books at once.

Blecch, where is thy Zing? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 19 August 2018 15:39 (three months ago) Permalink

i think this might be the new socialist article daniel is talking about above?: https://newsocialist.org.uk/the-brexit-novel/

mark s, Sunday, 19 August 2018 15:51 (three months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

interesting part of a Mike McCormack interview about the role of the editor in fostering a new generation of writers. I was particularly interested as we've talked about the reduced role of the editor in publishing, in relation to how something like Lanchester's Capital gets published. The conditions for allowing exciting literature to take place do seem to be, as James and Tim have both said, independent publishing houses willing to take risks, and also, perhaps, willing to keep the role of editor at a level of importance it had in the past.

He is generous in his praise for other writers, and talks about others’ experimentation. “It passed people by a little bit, and it’s a tribute to the artistry of the book, just how canny an experiment Donal Ryan’s first book was. It was so seamlessly done that people forgot. This is novel as montage, I think there are 21 narrators.” And then there’s “Claire Kilroy’s latest book The Devil I Know. That was brilliant. She depicted the Celtic Tiger as a cartoon, as almost Looney Tunes, and critics were unsure of it, but I thought she nailed it and it was a brilliant book.” Then there’s Lisa McInerney, “ there’s something surging and powerful about what she does, it’s nearly a life force all itself. And Rob Doyle, his two experimental books are something to laud. And Claire Louise Bennett, with Declan Meade at Stinging Fly, is doing brilliant work. Such a terrific writer.

He points out that “this generation of Irish writers are having their first editorial screening and tuning with Irish editors. A gifted generation of writers are being fostered by an equally gifted generation of young Irish editors. I think it’s an important moment. These editors have grown up with the idea of Ireland as a place which is hospitable to experimental literature. They know their Beckett, their Joyce, their Flann O’Brien, so the bejesus isn’t frightened out of them when they get an experimental manuscript. In England, you’ve no business going with an experimental manuscript. People just don’t want to know.”

So what changed?

“I think we found the old ways of speaking to ourselves and of ourselves did not work, didn’t provide a complete picture of who we were. Ryan’s first book, that narrative montage which painted all its cross cutting voices, its medley of voices as a choral piece: it depicted one of the most coherent pictures of rural Ireland.

“I think there was this gathering notion that the old narrative techniques weren’t fully capturing who we were and what we were about.” Writers are being “fostered by very inquisitive and able editors. The willingness to experiment found generous editors.”

Fizzles, Saturday, 29 September 2018 12:08 (two months ago) Permalink

I'd like to thank Tim for his post about Dostoevsky Wannabe - I read A Hypocritical Reader a few weeks ago and loved it. Terrific cover art.

Matt DC, Saturday, 29 September 2018 12:10 (two months ago) Permalink

I was thinking about getting something from them as well, as you say, the cover designs are superb.

Fizzles, Saturday, 29 September 2018 12:21 (two months ago) Permalink

brb moving to ireland

imago, Saturday, 29 September 2018 13:03 (two months ago) Permalink

In search of an editor?

coetzee.cx (wins), Saturday, 29 September 2018 13:10 (two months ago) Permalink

😭

imago, Saturday, 29 September 2018 13:24 (two months ago) Permalink

tbh though yes

imago, Saturday, 29 September 2018 13:34 (two months ago) Permalink

Plenty is happening in Danish Literature:

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/09/30/the-danish-tolstoy/

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 19:19 (two months ago) Permalink

Things must be really popping off after that Nobel Prize just the 101 years ago.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 20:02 (two months ago) Permalink

Read that book this summer, it really is a masterpiece. Perhaps the best Danish book I ever read

Frederik B, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 21:57 (two months ago) Permalink

I mentioned Sophie Collins above and here is a review of her collection:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/oct/05/who-is-mary-sue-by-sophie-collins-review-correcting-sexist-narratives

xyzzzz__, Friday, 5 October 2018 12:55 (two months ago) Permalink

My girlfriend bought that on a trip to London, is it worth reading?

Frederik B, Friday, 5 October 2018 14:02 (two months ago) Permalink

From the quotes I'd say so I've yet to pick it up.

Have you read Josephine Klougart btw? There is a copy of this in the 2nd hand bookshop nearest to me.

http://deepvellum.org/product/of-darkness/

xyzzzz__, Friday, 5 October 2018 14:36 (two months ago) Permalink

*Jospfine

xyzzzz__, Friday, 5 October 2018 14:36 (two months ago) Permalink

Fingers not working today :)

xyzzzz__, Friday, 5 October 2018 14:38 (two months ago) Permalink

Yeah, read her first two books, though not that one. Nope, don't like them. But she's probably a pretty good representation of a certain kind of Danish literature.

Frederik B, Friday, 5 October 2018 14:41 (two months ago) Permalink


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